Praying for Wisdom – Wisdom leads to action!

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Wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.   Although it is a gift it is something to strive to reach a higher level.   Even Jesus who was conceived by the Holy Spirit had to wait to start His public ministry as He returned with His parents to Nazareth and there advanced in wisdom. (Luke 2)

In wisdom God’s timing is everything.

Today’s reading was about the wise and foolish virgins. (Matthew 25)  As they await the arrival of the bridegroom I am reminded that Christ is the bridegroom and the church His bride.   Maybe the foolish didn’t have patience to wait for God’s timing, thinking this is the plan & where is this groom.  This morning’s homily pointed out everyone slept, because the bridegroom was really late, but it was the wise virgins who were prepared in case of a late arrival.  Maybe they understood God’s timing wasn’t what was in their plan.  Salvation history would have told them something, 40 years in the desert, 400 years of slavery in Egypt…. just saying God isn’t always on our clock.

This scripture asks me to stay awake because I don’t know the day or the hour.   Had the foolish been awake there may have been time to run and get more oil.  In my life it may be when I need retreat or a prayer meeting.   I have been both foolish and wise.

Scripture doesn’t mentioned why the bridegroom was late.  In my human thinking I wonder – Was he sick and had to recover?  Was there a flood or fire and needed to take an alternate route?  Did he have some additional discernment to do before taking the leap of faith?  Or maybe he overslept?

But I know God knows the right time, so not late but on time.

God gives us lots of time to get prepared, as the next parable in Matthew tells us.  The parable of the talents, we are all given gifts according to our abilities and we have the time to work to multiply the gifts.  Invest our spiritual gifts, deposit the gifts where it can gain interest.  We can always have more wisdom, more grace, more of God’s gifts.

And the last part of Matthew 25 tells us that there will be a judgment on being prepared, being awake, and using our gifts.  Wisdom leads to feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked,  visiting the ill and those in prison.  Wisdom leads to multiplying the gifts by enabling other to receive and give gifts.

Of course God’s timing is always perfect but in my life I often wonder if I am prepared to face Jesus.  Everyday I face Jesus, in the people I meet and in the opportunities He gives to me to serve.  I met him in prayer I meet Him in the quiet of my heart and I met Him in the challenges of life.  Have I multiplied the gifts, have I grown in wisdom?  I wonder when I met the day will people see Jesus in me and does my attitude, behavior, gratitude be ready for judgment?

As always more reflection and more action needed. –

The Boy Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)
Each year his (Jesus) parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them.

He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man.

 

The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long-delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’

 Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Called?!

1/1/2017
Making a resolution to be a better me or to reach goals for health or wealth is the tradition of welcoming the New Year.

I don’t know what today will bring or the year will bring.  My question today to myself (and to God) is —  What am I called to do today?  Where do you want me God?  How do I continue the journey to You?

My first call is to give God the honor and glory for calling me into His light!  Called to be grateful that He came to save me, a sinner.  And with the knowledge of being a child of God go out into into His service, called to treat others as children of God (yes, even the mean people).  Forgiveness and love is the message of each day as God, Himself forgave and loved each person.  No one is excluded in God’s call to be with Him.  God loves me and God loves you!

Today in the Church we celebrate, Mary, the Mother of Jesus and I can take from her example to always be willing to answer God, “Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”[Luke 1:38]


The reading that I woke up to this morning was 1 Timothy 1:12-17 – St. Paul reminding me that God sees beyond my sins and has faith in me, in return I should make today a day for God, a Day for service to God and a Day to keep God in my sight.

May the New Year give me the confidence that God is believing in me and counting on me then each day will be a day of strength and growth and well-being.  And may I have the strength to face each day knowing God judges me faithful so that I will service Him!

A year for reflection one day at a time.

 

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Survival – to Surrender

Watching the flooding in Louisiana has me thinking about survival.  I never learned to swim and the floods are scary to me.  I never thought that maybe I should keep a life jacket in my car when traveling to the area.  The week I was there a truck went over the railing of the Causeway Bridge.  Then the pictures last week were of the interstate being closed because of water.  I would have freaked out.

What makes me think I need a plan to survive?  I don’t know.  Guess growing up I felt I had to take care of me.  There were lots of kids in my family and as one of the oldest was always helping taking care of others.  I was quiet so didn’t really speak out what I wanted or needed.

I think I became a survivor in the womb.  My mom said I was a difficult pregnancy and didn’t think I would make it.  My name is Gina Rae for St Gerard and St. Raymond Nonnatus because they were patron saints of expectant moms.

As a little girl some of my survivor techniques were daydreaming and more daydreaming and talking to Jesus.

I started working at age 8, mowing the lawn and later worked in the snow-ball stand next door.

At 17 I went off to college and worked in the student study program.  Worked for all the things I needed for college.

Then in my 20’s I worked for Jesus, no pay but lots of time doing good deeds and praying.
My plan was to get to know Jesus and live out the gospel because I am meant for heaven.

I moved up north as my family calls it with $35 in my pocket and a one way ticket.  Had some rough years but started working.  I worked all the hours I could.  Live changed in the last two years, finding enough work with enough pay to survive.  But I am learning to do what God calls me to and He will help me find what I need.  Sometimes it comes in strange and mysterious ways. But I am still here and still surviving.  Maybe it is time to surrender more and focus on God’s kingdom in a bigger and better way.  Maybe I can let go of worrying about not swimming or not making it.  Maybe it is time to just let Go –  I know I always believed I have been trusting God but always had that little holding on to how I have to handle things so that I survive.

As I watch my mom transition from this world to the next I learned much about surrender. To know God is present to whatever I need to go through.  She accomplished what she felt she had to accomplish and she was ready to rest and be with God.  No more worry.

Praying God will teach me not to be so uptight as I strive to survive but let God and Let God as I can turn everything over to Him.  Without fear without worry without anxiety… just handing it over a piece at a time.

Matthew 6: 25-34
Dependence on God.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?  Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.  But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.   If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’  All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness,  and all these things will be given you besides.  Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Really didn’t know where I was going with this… just thought I should get some of my thoughts down and I can reflect on it further at a later time.

 

Grateful for Foresight

As I reflect on the day, on choices throughout life I think in hindsight I would have changed some of my choices. Making difference choices would mean I would be in a different place. I am grateful for where I am today.  Maybe hindsight isn’t the place to go.   Fr. Ed always taught us to live in the presence moment.

I do appreciate God’s foresight to grant me mercy.  He chose to send Jesus ahead of my faults.  And I am grateful for His grace.  God is not limited by time and He provides all we need (not all we want).

Philippians 4:6 — “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:19 — “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Favorite Scripture – Hebrews 11

This scripture reading has always been a place of strength.   Listing those who lived by faith.  Abraham packed up everything and started walking.  Maybe because I left my home to move to St. Louis I identified with his faith

Hebrews 11:8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going.

It is only with faith that I can do the things God ask, not because of results seen but because God promised it.

Hebrews 11:13 All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth.

In faith I know God is always walking with me and the promised land is Heaven.  The road is sometimes smooth and other times rough.

I think not only of the faith of those listed in Hebrews, but of all the Saints and of my own ancestors who sacrificed so that I had my faith given to me as a gift — at baptism.

Walking in faith for me has included blessings and sacrifices.  Faith meant letting go of things I felt previous. The hardest was moving in 1986 to St Louis. My niece who I adore was 4 years old. I missed her terribly. But I believed God called me away.

Faith also meant forgiving and saying I am sorry. My mind wanted to do the logical thing and wanted to do what seemed fair. But God is in charge of fair and mercy. He directs me to show mercy. So in faith I go to reconciliation (confession) and in faith have forgiven those who hurt me. In faith saying sorry to those I hurt.

Faith.   It came from reading scripture, going to church, having friends who are believers, reading the stories of the saints and practicing.  Just doing what God asked, whether it seemed fair or just or possible.

Yes I have messed up but the goal is the promised land. So if I get side tracked I head back to the right path.  If I fall off the path all the knowledge of faith brings me back.

That is my reflection as I sit waiting for my car today.

Faith

Favorite Scripture – Mark 10:17-22

I was dreaming about the Lion last night.  The Lion is the symbol of the  Gospel of Mark.

Yes, I do remember as a young woman reading about the rich young man. This is the scripture that inspired me to give up my job, possessions and go work with the poor along side Caritas in Abita Springs.  Now I wasn’t really rich, but I had a job, car and clothes.

I never wanted to be the rich young man who couldn’t surrender everything to God.  I was young and really didn’t know what it meant to give it all to God.   I am not sure I gave it all with the right attitude so truly didn’t give it all. I wanted God to be happy with me because I was a God addict.  My early days of serving God could almost be classified as co-dependency to God (except theologically I think that would be incorrect).  And that took me to Matthew 25:21-46 – “The Last Judgment”… I wanted to do it all.

I believe my early years of running with my bible is what draws me to the Church and instruction in my later years.   Direction, purpose.. I needed a guide.  I sometimes wonder if God really asked me to give it all up, or was it my interpretation. I didn’t have a lot of good counselors or advisors.  But even if it was a mistake it has been a great exercise of trusting God.

I didn’t stay with Caritas for a lifetime but the time I had with them did teach me many lessons on keeping life simple, trusting God and it did help me find the other tools for directions.   The journey continues, my favorite saying is “I may have zigged when I should have zagged but since God is everywhere I am always covered”.   And a prayer I identify with is:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” ― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

 

Favorite Scriptures – Haggai 2:15,19

This scripture reminds me of the Class of 1984 at Fisher High School.  I use to Substitute teach and work with the youth group (who didn’t want fun activities but religious instruction).  They were the best group of kids ever.  Unfortunately God gave them me and we didn’t have books like the Catechism of the Catholic Church yet. But we did have the bible, the Church and love for Jesus!

I can’t remember if it was their Senior breakfast or graduation but they couldn’t get a priest or preacher for the opening prayer.  Somehow I was asked.  And I remember using verse 15 and 19 from Haggai chapter two, calling them to reflect as they moved forward in life and letting them know it is God who intends to bless them each day.

The miracle of the internet is that even after moving 675 miles away I was able to connect with a couple of the students from this group.  And it seems God blessed them to stay focus on Him.  One is teaching religion and the other raising a family.

God works in strange and mysterious ways, some days He choose me to the be the strange and mysterious way.  But whoever He calls know He is along for the journey and His Holy Spirit will be the Guide.

And know even if you don’t feel equip to lead, that it really is the Holy Spirit leading just go out there with Love.  I had all the references available at the time but really it was loving Jesus and loving people that got them to stick with God.  No judgments just love.

And I know I will always reflect on that time and this scripture knowing God is always blessing, pouring blessings down like rain… we just need to be a bucket and receive the blessings.

Another scripture memory …. God is alive and His word is a living word!